Thursday, December 26, 2013

Winter Term - New Schedule, Rates, New Year!

Welcome Winter Term!

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday!  I'm ready to get back to teaching - I miss my students and the music!

Winter term, as usual will be focused on theory, notereading, etc. But don't worry, I will try to make it fun! And of course, if you want to start a cool new piece, let me know!

I've ridden Amtrak to and from Salem, seeking a new home and it is smooth sailing! So I don't think I'll have any problems coming to teach you all in your homes. Should be fun!

I hope I mentioned to all of you, that I will only be teaching 2 times a month for private students, so that I can fit you all in and see how it works with my travel system.

I originally stated I would only be taking tuition per lesson, because I was worried about missing lessons with the train. But I've done some research, and
the train from Salem doesn't seem to have problems with being late.  

So prepaying is an option (I've given you a discount).  It will also help me, because I still have some expenses for my move to cover.  

Prepay for the month:  (2 lessons) $45 - One Student
                                                         $90 - Two Students

Prepay for the term:  (6 lessons) $140 - One Student
                                                      $275 - Two Students

Winter Term goes from January 6 to March 22, 2014.

If this is a hardship for anyone, please let me know!

Thank you!

Teacher Zita :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow in Portland! (At last!)

Elvis, the Reluctant Snow Dog

Finally, some snow in Portland! Alas, only a light dusting, but it does make the city look festive!

I don't think there were any school closures. Sorry, students! :(

But I hope you enjoy and are careful!

And wear glove on those piano fingers!!

Remember, piano recital is coming up: Sunday, 12/15. 

Go forth and pratice!!


Teacher Zita

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Theory Books

Hello Piano People!

With Winter Term just around the corner, I want to give you advance notice that I like to spend a lot of time Winter Term diving into music theory and technic since we will not have another recital until June.

I have developed my own musical games over the years and I print worksheets off the internet. However, a theory book is a nice supplement to piano lessons.

Here are some suggestions:

For students at CMC, using the Piano Adventures Book (Buy the theory book that corresponds to the level/color of cover of book)

For private students using Piano Town Primer:

For private students using Piano Town Level 1:

For the older beginner:

For older continuing/intermediate (about 2nd year):

For older intermediate (about 3rd year):

For older intermediate (about 4th year):

For older intermediate/advanced (4+ years):

If you have questions, just ask! :)

PS Sorry to be talking about Winter so soon, but I was hearing Christmas music two weeks ago! :) 

Teacher Zita

Piano Adventures Primer

Here is a link for the Piano Adventures Primer Lesson Book that we use in group piano classes at CMC. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

New rates for piano lessons - update

Hi Piano People!

Due to my upcoming move to Salem, I feel it is necessary
to raise my rates a bit to cover traveling by train and visiting
students in their homes.

I will be teaching every other week (2 lessons a month) until
I see how this new system works.

So effective, 1/1/2014, my new rates will be:

1/2 hour $25

Prepay for the month:  (2 lessons) $45 - One Student
                                                         $90 - Two Students

Prepay for the term:  (6 lessons) $140 - One Student
                                                      $275 - Two Students

Winter Term goes from January 6 to March 22, 2014.

If this is a hardship for anyone, please let me know!

Thank you!

Teacher Zita :)

Life Changes!

Dear Piano Students:

I have decided to make some life changes that will go into effect January 1, 2014 that will affect some of you. I am going to be moving to Salem at the end of December to live near my daughter, Taylor who will be graduating from OSU in December! Taylor lives and works in Salem. The rent much cheaper in Salem and I really miss Taylor!

In addition, I will be enrolling in the Music Thanatology program at Lane Community College! Lots of changes! :)

I will still be teaching at CMC on Thursdays and Fridays, and I will still be accompanying the Francis Street Singers Tuesday evenings.

In keeping with my walking and busing lifestyle, I will be taking Amtrack up to Portland Tuesday through Saturday to teach. (Less expensive than driving!) 

The biggest change for you is that I will only be able to do house calls! And since I will be walking and busing, I will need time to get from house to house, so I may have to reduce the amount of students I am teaching.

I am hoping to group my students in similar neighborhoods.

I will be available the following days and times beginning the 2nd week in January:

(Please note that my lessons are 30 minutes, but I am allowing 30 minutes travel in between. The time may be adjusted if there are more than 1 student taking lessons in a household, or the distance between houses is very small for these short legs to travel!)

Tuesday (CMC neighborhood)
  1. 2:00
  2. 3:00
  3. 4:00
  4. 5:00
  5. 6:00 (Filled)

Wednesday (Belmont/Sunnyside neighborhood)
  1. 2:00
  2. 3:00
  3. 4:00
  4. 5:00
  5. 6:00
  6. 7:00

  1. 1:00
  2. 2:45 to 6:45 (Filled – CMC)
  3. 7:30 to 8:30 (Filled)

  1. 1:00
  2. 2:45 to 6:45 (Filled – CMC)

Saturday (Hawthorne/Mt Tabor Neighborhood)
  1. 10:00 a.m.
  2. 11:00 a.m.
  3. 12:00 p.m.
  4. 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (filled)
  5. 3:00 p.m.
  6. 4:00 p.m.
  7. 5:00 p.m.
  8. 6:00 p.m.
  9. 7:00 p.m. (filled)

I will give priority to students who have been with me the longest and are on my route. If you are outside of my route, we can talk. I might be purchasing a vehicle in the spring, but I am hoping the train/bus mode of travel works out. I enjoy the freedom of bus travel. :)

So, if you are interested in winter piano lessons, please reserve a spot ASAP! Otherwise, I can suggest a few teachers or you can be on my waiting list for late winter/early spring. I will continue to hold recitals at the end of fall term and the
end of spring term.

I have loved bringing music to all of you and I hope that you continue musically with me or with another teacher!

Please email or call if you have any questions.


Teacher Zita

P.S. I am giving a concert on December 15, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at CMC.  My friend and student Margaret Butler has organized this as a fundraising event to help offset the cost of moving and hopefully getting a digital keyboard for my apartment in Salem.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds and every little bit helps! :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Keith Snell Piano Repertoire Books

I mentioned these books in a previous posts. I like the fact that these pieces are in their original form, not arranged.  Here are all the levels:

For students who have finished a primer method book and are reading notes in a Level 1 book, I recommend the Preparatory Level.  The Piano Repertoire books are graded on a higher level than lesson books.

For students that have been reading music for about a year, know most of their major scales, and are finishing the Level 1 lesson book, I recommend Level One in the Repertoire Series:

For students who have been playing the piano for about two years and/or desire more challenge, I would recommend Level 2 in the Repertoire Series.  The pieces in the Baroque and Classical include many of the Bach Minuets that are often played in piano recitals, many from Anna Magdalena's Little Notebook. Students should be proficient in most scales and be comfortable moving out of 5-finger positions.

Students also benefit from theory books, particularly after the first year of study. I will recommend some theory books in a later post.  

Back to practicing! :)

Teacher Zita

Monday, October 14, 2013

Keith Snell Repetoire Series

I highly recommend these books for students beyond the 1st year lesson books.  Keith Snell has a graded Repetoire Series that keeps the original music intact (not arranged).

See me if you are unsure which level:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Teacher Zita Plays Waltz in D flat major by Chopin! (This is comedy!) :)

This is also called the "Minute Waltz", but Chopin did not really mean for it to be played in 1 minute! Good thing, because I could barely do it in 1 minute and 25 seconds! I think I prefer 2 minutes played more cleanly. But here is a video for your amusement. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

End of Fall term Recital

Hello Piano People!

I love the fall. My favorite time of year! :)

Fall term is underway and we are having a blast learning about the piano, how to read music and new pieces to play!

If you like to plan ahead, please put the following date on your calendar:

End of Fall Term Recital:
Sunday, December 15, 2013.

4:30 p.m. Beginners and continuing beginners (1st and 2nd year), or students younger than 12 years old

6:00 p.m. Intermediate/Advanced/Teens/Adults

If you are not sure which category you fit into, just ask! :)
Also, if you would like to see your teacher in concert, I am playing that same day at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Music Center! 

Back to practicing!

Teacher Zita :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

PIano Book Recommendations for Brand New Beginners!

Hello Piano People!

As far as piano methods, I have done my research and I prefer Keith Snell Piano Town.  He has a series beginning with the Primer, which is for brand new beginners, progressing to level 4, which is about the 4th year, depending on the student.

I prefer Keith Snell over most of the other methods because he provides a solid foundation in music without resorting to cheesy arrangements which in my personal opinion do not honor the composers. Also, Diane Hidy, the illustrator is extremely gifted. Part of the fun with this series is looking at the pictures as we progress through the book.  Often, they tell a continuing story!

I have my own twist on supplementing with games, stories, activities, and extra performance pieces.

And as my students progress and are ready for more classical piano literature, I recommend Keith Snell's Piano Repetoire series. I can discuss this in another post. This post is for my brand new beginners!

You can usually pick these books up at Portland Music Company, but I have been finding it more convenient lately to order online. If you choose the online route, here are the links:

For my brand new beginners, I use Keith Snell's Piano Town. The Primer Lesson Book is what we start with:

Once we've started lessons, some students want more options for performance pieces or just for musical enjoyment.  I would recommend the Piano Town Primer Performance Book:

I teach theory along with technic and performance. But some students benefit from a theory book, which is essentially a workbook to solidify what they are learning in lessons. For the beginner, I would recommend Piano Town Primer Theory Book:

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I'd include the Piano Town Halloween Primer. The pieces are just spooky enough to be lots of fun!

Ok, as painful as it is, I am just going to come out and say this. Christmas is less than 3 months awa! Aacck! Just kidding, I love Christmas. And for those of you that celebrate Christmas, here is a Piano Town Primer Christmas Book!:

And here is a lovely Hanukkah Primer book. Not Keith Snell, but a good book:

P.S. Students in group classes at the Community Music Center:  We use Faber Piano Adventures as the method book. All books can be purchase at the CMC office. It is a fine method, but I prefer Piano Town for my private students. However, to supplement Piano Adventures, feel free to purchase a performance book or one of the holiday themed books!

Happy Practicing!

Teacher Zita :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dog House Farm!

Here it is! A Youtube video of me (Teacher Zita) explaining and demonstrating Dog House Farm!

It's pretty silly, but I had fun making it.

Also, my piano is a bit out of tune. Sorry about that!


Please email me if you have questions!


Teacher Zita

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hindi Lessons With Alka Kumar

I just want to take this opportunity to mention Alka Kumar.  She and her family own the house where I rent my piano studio. The nicest family. They are from India.

If you study yoga or are interested in India, please consider lessons with Alka.

She is from India, highly educated, warm and friendly.  She teaches here at the house and her prices are very reasonable. :)


If you are not able to reach her through the website, please contact me and I will connect you.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Where Do I find the Music for...?'

Hi Piano People!

Happy Back to School! I love this time of year!

Just wanted to give you some advice on purchasing music.
Back in the day, I loved perusing the sheet music stores
and trying out music on the piano.

Nowadays, I find the best place to find music is online. is a good site for downloading and printing
music from your computer. This site is especially helpful
for popular music.

Sheet Music Plus is a good site for ordering lesson books. You can use the search box above to look for music. The link will take you to their site. You can check out music books at the library too. This is a fun way of trying out different styles.

Also, for beginners to intermediate pianists,, is one of my favorite sites. This site is run by a piano teacher, Gilbert DeBenedetti. Go to the site and click on Free Piano Music. You can listen to it online before you print. He has it arranged by levels. Most of it is public domain, that is why it is free! Mr. DeBenedetti also includes some of his own compositions to purchase.

Another site I use is This site is wonderful for young beginners and has some fun music worksheets. The teacher, Susan Paradis
also includes some of her own compositions. 

And the Community Music Center usually has stacks of used music for sale. I've
found some gems there! This is a good resource for sight reading material, but I've also found a lot of wonderful classical music collections.  

Have Fun!

Enjoy the music!

Teacher Zita :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fall Piano Lessons - An Update on the Update!

Ah, the ever changing world of the piano teacher's schedule! :)

These are my remaining openings for fall term:

Monday: Full
Tuesday: 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.

Subject to change! ;)

See you soon!

Teacher Zita 

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Devolution of Music

I had an adventure last night on the bus! Will have to blog about it later.

But hence, I had a late insomniac night and woke up late, stayed in bed and watched tv. A very interesting subject came up on the Jeff Probst show. His co-host Yvette Nicole Brown led the discussion. Lahla Hathaway was a guest and several young people ages 12 to early teens were interviewed.

One young lady said when she really listened to the lyrics of hip hop music, it made her feel like "trash".

Lahla talked about how so much of music gives you everything, leaving nothing to the imagination. And there is very little melody. I've had these same thoughts.

However, the eye opener was hearing that a lot of young people didn't enjoy the profanity or the objectification of women. I was under the impression that most young people took the message tongue in cheek and were just having fun, enjoying the beat

JayZ was quoted as saying "We didn't think hiphop would last this long. We now need to take it to the next level." So, my question is: What is the "next level" in music? Perhaps it's time for the circle to move backwards. Acoustic music with beautiful melodies, lush harmonies, deep, meaningful lyrics.?

Thoughts to ponder.... :)

 Anyway, I'm glad I overslept!

Here is a link about the program:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

End of Summer Piano Recital, Update

I will be holding a piano recital on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

These will be a small, informal performance and would be a
good opportunity to play for a small, appreciative audience on
the big Steinway grand piano in the auditorium at
the Community Music Center!

Let me know if you will be joining us and what piece(s)
you'd like to play!

Note: The 4:00 p.m. recital was cancelled, but the 5:30 show
will go on!

Time:  5:30 p.m. (Please arrive 15 to 20 minutes early)
Place: Community Music Center

As usual, please bring a treat to share.

See you soon! :)

Teacher Zita

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fall Term Private Piano Lesson Openings, Updated 08/10/2013

They're flying like hotcakes!

These are my remaining openings for Fall Term:

Tuesday:  3:30 and 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 4:30 p.m.
Saturday:  4:00 and 4:30 p.m.

Teacher Zita :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Harpsichord Fever!

I'm pretty psyched! I practised on the harpsichord at CMC today. I'm going to be playing JS Bach's Harpsichord Concerto in f minor with CMC's little orchestra at the end of this month. Never played a harpsichord concerto before! And, I actually wrote my own cadenza for the third movement! 
 I'll put up a video of me playing the harpsichord next week. It's a funky little instrument. For those of you that don't know, it's like a small piano, but instead of hammers hitting the strings, they are plucked. I am adjusting to the fact that I can't produce any dynamics (Louds and softs), but with my small hands and the smaller keys on a harpsichord, we are a nice fit! I may have to get one of my very own! 
I'll post details about the performance, if anyone would like to come. It will be free! :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fall Term Private Piano Lesson Openings (Update)

I refuse to put back to school pictures up just yet! I was shopping in early July at one of my favorite stores, and they already had big back to school display up!

I prefer to live in the present, thank you! :)

However, I am planning my fall schedule, so that when fall terms arrives, it will flow smoooothly! :) 

Here are my current, updated openings:

Monday:  3:30 p.m.
Tuesday:  3:30, 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 p.m.
Thursday: Community Music Center (No Private Lessons. Call CMC 503.823.3177 to inquire about group classes)
Friday: Community Music Center (No Private Lessons)
Saturday: 4:00, 4:30, 6:00 and 6:30 p.m.
Sunday: Day Off! :)

Enjoy the rest of the lazy days of Summer! :)

Teacher Zita :)
(Wish I had a hammock!)

Friday, July 26, 2013

For All of the Future Planners! :)

Well, I actually have all my recitals scheduled in the CMC auditorium for the school year 2013-14. I am woman, hear me roar!!

Here they are!

Students of Zita Piano Recitals 2013-14 at CMC

Sunday, December 15, 2013

5:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m. (for intermediate and advanced students only)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

5:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m. (for intermediate and advanced students only)

Making Friends with a Cat

Hello Piano People!

I just had a teaching experience I want to share with you while it's fresh in my mind!

I have a student who has returned to me after an absence. He is a bit reluctant. I believe he was being coerced slightly by his mom. :) But he is nice and respectful. In middle school. I told him that in the summer, I like to be relaxed and ask my students if there is a special piece they would like to learn. He grinned and said, "Heart and Soul!". Arrggg! Well, at least he didn't say "Choptsticks!"

Heart and Soul is one of those pieces that anyone with fingers tries to plunk out on the piano at any family gathering, USA. It's easy to learn and more fun when one person plays the chord progression and the other the melody. And it is one of those songs that never ends! It can really get tiresome for the listener! And once a student learns this piece, they seem to want to play it over and over and over for hours and hours and hours....aaack! lol

 But I do like my students to be happy. Happy students practice! I teach a blues class in the summer.

One thing I discovered years ago is that you can jam on a blues scale over the chord progression of Heart and Soul! This comes in mighty handy for a teacher!! :)

So I told my middle school boy that I would love to teach him how to play Heart and Soul, IF he learned a blues scale in C. Then I demonstrated how you could play the melody one time through, straight. The next time break into a blues jam. I was pleased to see him smile and say, "Wow, cool!" Well the next week he not only knew his blues scale and both parts of Heart and Soul, he was also reviewing note reading in his lesson book!

 Happy teacher here! :)

His mom told me he is excited about piano class and he is practising! BUT, she said, "Can you teach him something other than Heart and Soul?!!!" lol! I told her I am so glad he is practising and enthusiastic. And I am especially glad he is reviewing note reading on his own! I told her I want him to feel he has a choice. If he is interested in a new piece, I will gladly get it for him. But I feel like I am making friends with a cat. I don't want to pounce on him with a new piece - he might run away! :) Good lesson here today. :)

 Have a great day! Teacher Zita

Thursday, July 25, 2013

End of Fall Term Recital - Save the Date! :)

I know, I know. It's still July! But I have been bitten by the planning bug! So for those of you that like to have a plan, put this on your calendar: End of Fall Term Piano Recital: Sunday, December 15, 2013. 5:00 pm or 6:30 pm (this section is for intermediate- advanced students). Stay tuned for End of Spring Term 2014 Recital date! TZ

Reviews :)

Are the kids saying "I'm Bored!" yet? :)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Breathing Room


Greetings Piano People!

As some of you may know, I am attempting to simplify my life!  Beginning Fall 2013, I will be teaching more privates student at home and less group lessons.  I'm hoping this will give the breathing room to focus on my own piano practice and also to give more attention to each individual student.

The teacher-student connection has always been important to me. I care about all of my students. They mean more to me than perfection at the keyboard!  Although I enjoy the dynamics of group lessons, and I will continue to teach group a few hours a week, I feel the need to explore taking more time with each person, and guiding some of my students into more advanced piano repetoire.  (That's a big word, right? Repetoire simply refers to the list of music that you are able to play.  It is a French word that means the same in French that we Americans borrow.  It's called a "loan word." You find a lot of loan words in music.  Most of them are borrowed from the Italian language. For example piano means "soft" in Italian!  Ok. I am digressing!)

Anyway, in order to find a few more private students, I have been using for advertisement.  I really enjoy using this site. It is user friendly and I have gotten several student inquiries already!

You can check out my ad at:  piano instructor

If you are in group classes and would like to take the next step with private lessons, or you have a friend or family members seeking piano lessons, do give me a holler!


Happy Summer! :))

Teacher Zita

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Note Naming Practice

I discovered a wonderful music theory site that lets teachers create customized notenaming games for their students. Just click the link below and have fun!

Teacher Zita :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Calling all Piano Students! :)

I have some extra openings in my private studio this summer.  It seems that many of my private students are off on vacation! :)

So now would be a good time to begin lessons!  Whether you are a brand new beginner, or continuing lessons, summer lessons are fun! When it's hot outside, take a break and come relax with music you enjoy.  When it's raining - that's my favorite time to express myself on the piano.

I accept all ages, beginners to late intermediate.  I love teaching note reading and theory, technique and scales.  But I also enjoy spending time improvising and playing by ear. And I find that if my students play music they love, they love to play! So it is important for me to help you discover what music moves you.

My studio is in a cute, funky house on Belmont St. here in Portland.

Come chat with me and see if we can have some fun learning piano! :)

Teacher Zita

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Piano Lessons

June is almost history and July just around the bend! I hear we are in for some hot weather! 

Personally, I don't mind the mild 70 and drizzly typical Portland weather, but it will be nice to see the sun - especially since kids are out of school and want to do summery things like swim!

Speaking of summer things, summer is a nice time to take piano lessons. Whether you are a brand new beginner, or continuing to build your skills in music reading, technique and performance, or want to try something new like The Blues, or have a special piece you would like to play (I've had a lot of students asking for music by Adele), now is the time!

I still have some spots open in my schedule.

My availability for private lessons this summer is:
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I have mostly late morning/early afternoon spots remaining open on Tue and Thursday and late afternoon spots open on Saturday.  I might be able to do a few early morning spots too.

I still have some piano lab openings at the Community Music Center. Piano lab is like a mini private lesson. I divide the time between a class of 3 for 45 minutes. While you wait for your turn, you can feel free to practice on one of our new Yamaha Clavinova digital electric keyboards (with headphones for privacy!) :)

I will be at the Community Music Center this summer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can learn more about their program or sign up for classes here!
Or feel free to call 503.823.3177. 

Be Cool!
Play Music!


Teacher Zita

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Piano Blues

Dear Friends:

I am halfway through Summer Piano Blues Camp at the Community Music Center and having a blast! The kids are amazing!  I had a moment of panic last week when I saw how large the classes were. But this was a blessing in disguise because I got busy and designed a kickin' lesson plan with lots of activities to keep things rolling smoothly.

In fact, it's been so successful that I'd like to offer a summer piano blues focus for my private students!

Mind you, I am new to the blues myself. I've been playing the piano since I was 3, at which time I was taught notereading, so while I am a pretty darn good sight reader, my improv skills lay dormant for about 40 years!

I discovered the blues, and I discovered myself!  I found freedom to express myself and create. It's a wonderful outlet!

So any students interested in summer blues, in their private lessons, give me a holler! :)

Teacher Zita

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fall Term!!

Well, I'm not trying to fast forward your summer or anything, but I thought perhaps
I should give you a heads up on my availability for fall term since I've had some students
reserve fall lesson times already!!

Beginning Fall, 2013 I will be available:

Monday 3:00 to 5:00
Tuesday 3:00 to 6:00
Wednesday 3:00 to 7:30
Saturday 4:00 to 7:00

I may have some earlier afternoon during the week and late morning on Saturday as well.

Teacher Zita :)

Summer Piano Lessons

Can you believe that school is almost out for the summer?!!  Where did the year go?

I am working on my summer piano schedule as we speak.  It is fun to be a little more relaxed as the days get warmer.  Some of my students like to work on blues and improvisation or composition. Some choose to work on their sightreading skills. Some like to pick a new recital piece to master.

And as always, I love taking beginning students of all ages!

My current openings this summer are:

Tuesday: 3:00, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:00
Thursday: 12:00, 12:30 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00
Saturday:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30

Summer Tuition:

Per Lesson

30 minute lesson:  Paid each lesson: $20.

1 hour lesson (or two students): Paid each lesson: $40

Per Month

30 minute lesson, once a week:  Prepaid: $75.

1 hour lesson (or two students): Prepaid:  $150.

Summer Term (8 weeks)

30 minute lesson, once a week: Prepaid for 8 weeks:  $140.

1 hour lesson (or two students): Prepaid for 8 weeks: $300.

Fall/Winter/Spring Term (12 weeks)

30 minute lesson, once a week: Prepaid for 12 weeks:  $200

1 hour lesson (or two students): Prepaid for 12 weeks: $400

I also have mini lessons (good for toddlers): 15 minutes: $10
Happy Summer!

Teacher Zita :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Piano Recitals

Several of my piano students mentioned they would like to play in a summer piano recital, especially a few that could not make the spring recital. 

I love when students say they want to perform! :) 

So I've scheduled an end of summer piano recital.

DATE: Sunday, 8/25/13. 

TIMES:  4:00 and 5:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars.

Happy End of School Year! :)

Teacher Zita

Thursday, May 30, 2013

End of Spring Term!!

Dear Students, Parents and Friends:

Can I get a "Yippee!  Almost summer!!"?? :)

For my piano students who performed last Sunday, May 26th at the end of the year recitals:  BRAVO!!! I am a very proud teacher.  You all played so beautifully from your heart.  Best recitals ever!!

I have two more recitals coming up on June 9th. One at 6 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. The 7:30 recital is for nonbeginners.

Important Stuff
  1. Spring term for private piano students ends Friday, June 14.
  2.  Summer term is July and August.
  3. Spring term for CMC students ends Saturday, June 8th, unless you have a makeup class, then it will be Saturday, June 15th.
  4. I am teaching a Piano Blues Camp again this summer!  It runs the week of June 17-21. I believe there are still openings! Call CMC at 503.823.3177 for more info.
  5. I am taking requests for summer piano lessons.

    My availability will be:
    Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri and Sat mornings (late mornings)
    Tue, Thur and Sat afternoons.  I have some kids scheduled Sat 1 to 3:30 and a few other students during the week, but am pretty open otherwise. :) Let me know if you would like me to reserve a time!. Thank you
  6. Keep the music going!   Teacher Zita :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

On Learning to Read Music

Dear Piano People: 

Part of being a musician, is being able to read the music notes.  Many musicians play "by ear" which is hearing music and then duplicating the sound, which is one way of learning.  But if you can read the music, it opens up a whole new world to you and makes you a stronger, more independent musician. Reading music also strengthens the left side of your brain which is useful for analytical thinking (like math). Playing music is also a creative art, which strengthens the right side of your brain. So learning to read and play music will give you a strong, balanced brain!

There is no quick, simple way to learn notes other than through an understanding of the grand staff, which your teacher can help you with and drills. I spend a little bit of each class or lesson playing music note games, but you can strengthen your note recognition by doing a little bit of note naming drills each day.  You can purchase flash cards online or at a music store. You can make your own flash cards, or grand staff chart (see me to make sure it is correct), you can study the notes in your music book, or you can play online music games. An example of one is given below.

Also, two websites I use regularly for printing free piano music and theory worksheets are:

Parents, please help your children by going to these sites with them. You can choose music to print, or worksheets to help them understand note names.  In my group classes, we have a "musical game day" at the end of each term. I will give prizes for games, which focus on notereading. Another reason to learn your notes! :)

What are you waiting for? Go forth and conquer those music notes! :)

Teacher Zita

Seeing Charles Ives in Every Student

Today I would like to talk about a revelation I had this week. It started out as a dilemma. 

One of the parents of a student I have in a group class, complained loudly because I did not start class right on the dot and she felt like her son was getting her money's worth.  She usually is the first one in the class, with her child in tow, even before the students from the previous class have left.  I feel her impatience.  It makes me tense and feel pressured.
But being the overly sensitive musician I am, I have also been looking inside myself to see what I can learn from this and how best to handle it.

This isn't about being right or wrong. Her complaints are valid. But it is, to me about teaching philosophy. As I pondered this conundrum over the weekend, I had an epiphany with one of my students!! 

Here is the story. 

By the way, I am also employed as a  church pianist.  The pastor from my church spoke about positive thinking. I was still cranky from Saturday, and I really didn't want to hear it.  I had this little child ego voice inside me, saying I'm right and she is ignorant.  But then the rational side of me says I can learn something from this, whether I like it or not.  I do get negative and turn a problem inside and out and won't let go. Like a big pimple getting ready to pop. (sorry, yucky analogy). 

I went to one of my student's houses. I've had him since he was 5. He's 12 now.  I love this kid. But he can be a little bit annoying at times.  I sat down and asked him to do his scales, trying to get him to focus. His parents are exasperated with his goofing around too. I sat and waited. He plunked a few notes, fiddled with pedals, plunked some more.  He laughed. I know him, he's not being disrespectful. He likes to experiment. And I had this breakthrough suddenly.  How can I turn this negative into a positive

I asked him instead of banging around randomly, to look out the window.  He saw a car wiz by, and a dog. I said make the piano sound like what you see. SAY something with your playing.  And then all of a sudden his plunking sounded musical. So I texted his mom, who was in the kitchen. I said "Can you pull up Charles Ives on your notepad? Your son is channeling him in the living room."

So she pulled up Charles Ives on YouTube.  We found his quarter tone piano pieces. The Allegro sounded almost exactly like what he was playing. We were dumbfounded. So was my student.  I told him that was his assignment this week.  An Ives' like composition.

I told his mom, "Out of great desperation can come the most creativity." But of course, one must be open minded and flexible for this to happen.

I imagine Charles Ives had some teachers who were frustrated with him and tried to make him more mainstream.  I do not want to be one of those teachers. 
The pressure to conform is great, but I am determined to be me!  My style is not for everyone. There are many amazing teachers.  But I think it is important to maintain your individuality, openly and honestly. Not to change into who you think your students or parents want you to be. But who you are and how that can best serve your students. 

I hope you all can find your voice in music.  If so, you will have a friend that you can turn to for the rest of your life. Whether you are a pianist, a guitarist, a singer, a horn player, or a drummer, your instrument will be something you turn to time and time again for comfort when the demands of life get you down.

After my rather intense weekend, I came home and sat at my piano. I felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders with every note I played.  Music can inspire and delight. It can also heal.  Have a wonderful week!


Teacher Zita :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

End of the Year Piano Recitals

Let's start our engines, pianists!  Over the next few weeks, we will be selecting pieces for our end of the year piano recital!  I love this time of year!

Start thinking about what you might want to work on. If you like a challenge, this would be a good opportunity to pick a larger, more challenging piece, if you are committed to spending time working on it. I can help you with your selection. Music does not need to be memorized.

I have the CMC auditorium reserved for spring piano recitals the following dates and times:.

Sunday 05/26: 

5:00 p.m.


6:30 p.m.

 Sunday 06/09

 6 p.m.


7:30 p.m.Important Note:  The 7:30 p.m. recital on 06/09 is only for advanced students.    

Greetings Piano People! :)

Today is February 18, 2013. My how time flies! Only 4 more weeks of winter term! 

This term I have been focusing on note reading, theory, sight reading and technique.  Great job, students - I see a huge improvement in note recognition for the new beginners and sight reading for my continuing students. Yay! :)

One of my continuing classes at the Community Music Center helped me come up with a new game. We are calling it:  "Mad Staff".  If you've ever played "Mad Libs", it's similar, but using the letters of the notes on the Grand Staff. 

I'm still working out the kinks, but it's grand fun! (Pun intended!) :)
I'll post the rules and results on my blog over spring break.

Speaking of which, Spring Break is March 19 - March 31st. If you are in one of my Saturday classes, I will be accompanying a violin recital on March 9th, so no classes that day. There will be a make up class on Saturday, March 23rd.

There will be no recital at the end of this term.  But I will be posting dates and times of my June recitals soon!

If students are wanting some extra fun music to play that is not in the lesson book, I highly recommend the website
The creator of the website, Gilbert deBenedetti is a piano teacher. He makes piano music available free online and even puts it into appropriate levels.  This is all public domain music and perfectly legal.  He also has music theory and guitar music. Just go to his site and click on "Free Piano Music". If you are a beginning note reader, 1st pieces and Primer would be a good place to start. You can listen first and then download and print! Feel free to look at more challenging pieces too. If you don't understand anything, remember you have a very helpful piano teacher!

Be cool, play music!  :)

Teacher Zita :)